October 17, 2009

Yes, but God told me . . .

If you claim you spoke to God, or you are God, or you're the son of God, there's a fair chance someone would take you to a psych ward and you would probably get heavily medicated.

People who claim to be God are usually dismissed as nuts. People who claim to have spoken to God or have gotten a message from God (Abraham, Saint Paul, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, etc.) or claim they are related to God are maybe either psychotic, delusional or con men. A current example of a huckster is Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, the guy in Bill Maher's movie Religulous who says he's Jesus reincarnated. He's obviously a con man.

Buddha, on the other hand:
  • never claimed to be God
  • never claimed to be a relative of God
  • never claimed to have spoken to God or received a message from God
In fact, he never even mentioned God in his teachings. (His teachings are mostly about how to meditate your way to better mental health. So, I guess you could say that Buddha was the first psychotherapist.)

The reason Buddhism is even classified as a religion is people tend to deify him. But he never claimed to be more than an ordinary man. He never claimed to have magic powers. (See
Stephen Batchelor, a former monk and the author of Buddhism Without Beliefs.)

So, was Buddha the only founder of a major religion who wasn't psychotic, delusional or a con man?

What do you think?

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